Bob Beaudet, associate professor of health and physical education at Western Carolina University, has been recognized for his excellence in teaching adapted physical education by the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport Management.
Beaudet was honored as College/University Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year during the alliance’s recent convention held in Winston-Salem. The organization includes professionals from seven associations that are represented in its name, including the North Carolina Physical Education Association. Carmyn Glynn, 2018 president of the alliance, said Beaudet and the group’s K-12 recipient of the same award from Guilford County “reflect the highest quality of teaching excellence and dedication.”
Beaudet, who earned his doctorate at Florida State University, joined the WCU faculty in 2002 and primarily teaches students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in health and physical education in the School of Teaching and Learning. He said the award likely recognizes his work in teaching “Health and Physical Education for the Exceptional Child,” a course at WCU that is designed to educate students about individuals with all types of disabilities, and for his service on the state’s Adapted Physical Education Advisory Council, which advises the N.C. Department of Public Instruction on matters pertaining to that area.
Beaudet said the word “adapted” is discussed often in the “Health and Physical Education for the Exceptional Child” classes. “In reality, all students should be safe and successful in their health and physical setting,” he said. “For all students to be safe and successful, a teacher must adapt.” That might include modifications in game rules, equipment, teaching styles and other areas. “The bottom line is, the teacher has all of the students in mind and is willing to put in the energy, enthusiasm and the care for each student. In the course, we like to say that teaching adapted physical education is just good teaching,” he said.
The best aspect of the course is when WCU students have an opportunity to interact with children with severe disabilities, Beaudet said. “For the last 16 years, I have been lucky enough to work with the special education teachers at Cullowhee Valley School, who are, without a doubt, the best anywhere,” he said.
The WCU students visit the nearby school twice each week during the semester. Each of Beaudet’s students are responsible for assessing the capabilities of one or two Cullowhee Valley students and for setting goals for the semester, writing lesson plans and implementing those plans. Beaudet and the WCU students also meet two days each week on campus to talk about the Cullowhee Valley students’ needs, various issues that come up and strategies for helping them be successful.
During fall semester 2018, the students in Beaudet’s class also had a chance to work with students with severe disabilities from an Asheville school, both on-campus and in Asheville. He said it is typical for the mindset of the WCU students to be changed completely by their experiences in the course.
“At the beginning of the semester, my students write a reflection about their first lesson,” he said. “The most common answer is that they didn’t come in with any experience working with students with disabilities, and they write about how nervous they were. The last week of the course, they talk about how much they enjoyed working with their student, how confident they now feel about working with students with disabilities, and that they are considering going into adapted physical education full time or looking forward to having students with disabilities in their regular classes.”
For more information about WCU’s health and physical education program, visit this website.